As of November 2020, more than 23,000 press releases going back to 1946 have been catalogued in the UN Digital Library, with more than 9,600 records linking to the online version. Selected newly issued press releases are added on a daily basis.
The UN Digital Library contains descriptions of all biographical notes starting in 1946, more than 5,500 to date, which capture high-level appointments, as well as permanent representatives presenting their credentials to the Secretary-General. This makes it easy to find all the press releases issued for the representative of a particular country.
Over 2,000 press releases record appointments by the Secretary-General of senior officials and allow for easy access to biographical information, for example for Jan Kubis or Jane Holl Lute, who have held several senior appointments.
Other collections include almost 1,500 Security Council press statements issued since 2001, as well as all the statements issued by the Deputy Secretary-General since 1998. The Dag Hammarskjöld Library maintains a vast collection of print press releases issued before 1995, which are not yet available online. Please contact us should you need research assistance or require a copy of specific press releases.
House of Commons Library (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament
Coronavirus: Financial impact on higher education – “Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic there have been concerns about the financial impact on universities. Much of this has focussed on the potential loss of international students, but there could also be losses in income from lower home student numbers, a drop in research work and less revenue from accommodation, catering and conferencing. What are the size of these impacts and what has the Government done to support the sector?“
Unexplained Wealth Orders – “Unexplained Wealth Orders allow for the confiscation of property without proving criminality, by reversing the burden of proof. This briefing discusses their introduction, how they work, and their use so far.”
As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, a team of archivists in the Department of Global Communications races to preserve its audiovisual heritage. For years, the UN’s historic film, video and audio recordings have been at risk due to natural decay, technological obsolescence and challenging environmental storage conditions. In 2016, seeing the importance of preserving this rich collection, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman stepped in with a generous contribution which enabled a 5-year effort to digitize approximately 70 per cent of the archives and make them available through the AV Library website. To maximize discovery and publicize these treasures, the AV Library, with the support of the Video Section and Social Media team, is launching a quarterly video series called “Into the Vault: 75 Years of UN Audiovisual Heritage”. The series explores important aspects of the Organization’s history through its use of selected footage, audio and photographs from the audiovisual archive. Episode One will showcase the General Assembly’s picturesque moments, questioning myths and highlighting important resolutions of the Organization’s most representative body.
House of Commons Library (c) Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament
Short Money – “This House of Commons Library briefing paper provides details of the current levels of ‘Short money’ allocated to opposition parties for parliamentary duties and a brief history of the scheme. Figures for the corresponding scheme in the House of Lords (Cranborne money) are provided. The note also provides details of allocations made under the Representative Money scheme.“
Statistics on UK-EU trade – “This note provides basic figures on UK trade with the EU. The attached Excel spreadsheet (see under Supporting documents) allows for easy access and presentation of detailed 2019 data on UK trade with indiviual EU member states, as well as trade trends between 1999 and 2019.”
Obesity – “This paper covers the work of the UK Government in…
The relaxation of bank capital and liquidity requirements in the wake of the coronavirus crisis: “EU banks entered the coronavirus crisis with high capital and liquidity buffers resulting from the reforms undertaken after the global financial crisis of 2007-2009. This allowed a bold and swift response by supervisors oriented towards supporting banks’ ability to provide credit to the real economy. This paper provides an overview and an assessment of the regulatory response to the crisis, and suggests some recommendations for the future design of countercyclical regulation.”
The French Nuclear Deterrent – “The French nuclear deterrent is the one that is most often compared to the UK’s nuclear forces. While there are similarities in terms of policy, posture and size, there are also significant differences in terms of industrial support and cost. In contrast to the UK all of the major political parties in France support an independent nuclear deterrent, and domestic support is high. This paper examines the French nuclear deterrent in greater detail. It is also part of a wider Library briefing series on nuclear weapons.”
Food Banks in the UK – “The primary source of data on food bank use is the Trussell Trust. This national charity provides food parcels to people referred to it by professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and…
Regulating crowdfunding: “As a step towards Capital Markets Union, the European Commission presented a proposal for a regulation on crowdfunding service providers in March 2018, to facilitate the cross-border offer of such financial services across the EU.”
Shaping the digital transformation in Europe. This report discusses “a set of such high-impact technologies and applications, for example, artificial intelligence, high-performance computing, advanced robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and their potential impact on Europe’s economy, the labour market, and wider society.”
As a Digital Library Research Intern at the National Library of Scotland (NLS), I’ve contributed to several tools for digitally exploring NLS collections. On the NLS Data Foundry website, the NLS publishes its digitised collections and collections data, as well as tools for exploring that data. Prior to my internship, the NLS had published tools for exploring its map collection and geospatial datasets. Now, its tools include Jupyter Notebooks for conducting text analysis. I created five Jupyter Notebooks for five collections on the NLS Data Foundry which explore digitised text and metadata.
What is a Jupyter Notebook? A Jupyter Notebook is an interactive document that can display text, images, code, and data visualisations. Jupyter Notebooks have become popular in data science work because they facilitate easy documentation of data cleaning, analysis, and exploration. Explanatory text can describe what code will do and comment on the significance of the results of code after it runs. Live code can create and display text, images, tables, and charts. The data on which code runs can be sourced from a file, a folder of multiple files, or from a URL (an online data source). Even if you don’t have the Jupyter Notebook software (which is free and open source!) downloaded to your computer, you can still interact with Jupyter Notebooks using MyBinder, which runs the Notebooks in an Internet browser.
Why use a Jupyter Notebook? Jupyter Notebooks are useful for exploring collections as data, helping new research questions to be asked that complement close readings of text with distant readings. Using a coding language such as Python (which I used as NLS Digital Library Research Intern), linguistic patterns such as word occurrences, and diversity of word choice can be measured across thousands of sentences in a matter of seconds. Thanks to the technical fields of computational linguistics and natural language processing, developers have created libraries of code that make it easy to reuse code that answer common questions in text analysis. One such library of code is Natural Language Toolkit, often referred to by its abbreviation, NLTK.
Jupyter Notebooks are useful for writing code to explore digitised collections because they support NLS collections data in achieving the FAIR data principles: 1. Findability – Jupyter Notebooks can be assigned a digital object identifier (DOI) to facilitate their findability. The Jupyter Notebooks on the NLS Data Foundry have DOIs and are also available on GitHub, a platform for creating and sharing open source coding tools. 2. Accessibility – As mentioned previously, a Jupyter Notebook is an open source software platform that anyone can download to their own computer, or that can be run in an Internet browser. 3. Interoperability – Jupyter Notebooks do not depend on a particular operating system or Internet browser (they can be run with Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.; and in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.). Furthermore, the Jupyter Notebooks on the NLS Data Foundry include links to their data sources (which are .TXT files on the Data Foundry). Every data source has licence information that provides guidance on how to use and cite the data. 4. Reuse – Jupyter Notebooks promote the reuse of NLS collections data because the Notebooks can be edited live in a browser, whether using MyBinder online or a local version of the software downloaded to your computer. You can edit both the explanatory text and code of a Jupyter Notebook, making it easier to write code even if you don’t have prior programming experience.
Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks in a Jupyter Notebook One of the five collections I used as a data source during my time as NLS Digital Library Research Intern is the Britain and UK Handbooks. The Handbooks dataset I used contains digitised text from official publications that report statistical information on Great Britain and the United Kingdom between 1954 and 2005. In the Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks Jupyter Notebook, I organise the data exploration process into four sections: Preparation, Data Cleaning and Standardisation, Summary Statistics, and Exploratory Analysis. The Notebook serves as both a tutorial for people who would like to write code to analyse digitised text, and a starting point for research on the Britain and UK Handbooks.
In Preparation, I load the files of digitised Britain and UK Handbooks available on the Data Foundry’s website.
Image 1: Excerpt of the Preparation section from Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks
In Data Cleaning and Standardisation, I create several subsets of the data that normalise the text as appropriate for different types of text analysis. For example, to analyse the vocabulary of a dataset (e.g. lexical diversity, word frequencies), all the words of a text source should be lowercased so that “Mining” and “mining” are considered the same word. In computational linguistics, this process is called casefolding.
Image 2: Excerpt of the Data Cleaning and Standardisation section from Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks
In Summary Statistics, I calculate and visualise the frequency of select words in the Handbooks.
Image 3: A data visualisation from the Summary Statistics section from Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks
In Exploratory Analysis, I group the Handbooks by the decade in which they were published and compare the occurrences of select words in the Handbooks over time.
Image 4: A data visualisation from the Exploratory Analysis section from Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks
For More Information If you’re interested in learning more about using Jupyter Notebooks for large-scale analysis of official publications (or other digitised and digital collections), here are a few resources to get you started:
• National Library of Scotland’s Data Foundry (see the Tools page for Exploring Britain and UK Handbooks and four other Jupyter Notebooks)
• Tim Sherratt’s introduction to working with Jupyter Notebooks for analysing gallery, library, archive, and museum collections, along with many other Notebooks that comprise his GLAM Workbench
• The CERL blog post about the NLS Data Foundry supporting scholarship that approaches “collections as data”
• The NLS Digital Scholarship’s collections-as-data GitHub repository that contains all five Jupyter Notebooks created for the NLS Data Foundry
On the 15 September, the labour market statistics for May-July 2020 were published.
For the first time since the pandemic, these statistics showed a rise in unemployment, while redundancies and the number of people claiming unemployment benefits also increased. However, the statistics also suggested that there was a recovery to some extent, with both the number of working hours and vacancies increasing.
To date, the pandemic has had more of an impact on the labour market status of particular age groups.
Employment levels for those aged 16-24 and 65+ fell by 336,000 in May-July 2020, compared to the pre-pandemic quarter…
The National Library of Scotland has set up trial access to Public Petitions to Parliament, 1833-1918 and this is available to registered users until 1st October 2020. There is a link for feedback provided. Please let us know if you find the resource useful and that will assist us in our decision to subscribe.
The ‘Public Petitions to Parliament’ is part of the U.K. Parliamentary Papers resource, focusing on the Select Committee on Public Petitions in the years 1833 to 1918. It includes descriptive records for every one of the over 900,000 petitions accepted by Parliament and the full text of each petition that the Committee transcribed.
Politics in Autumn 2020 will continue to be dominated by Coronavirus and the negotiations with the EU, as the end of the post-Brexit transition period approaches on 31 December. But what will this mean for parliamentary business in the coming months, and what scope will there be to tackle other issues?
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Influenza immunisation programme, NHS winter pressure and COVID-19 – “Seasonal influenza is a recurring risk that puts winter pressure on the NHS. The extent of this pressure results from several factors. This winter it may coincide with ongoing and possible increased transmission of SARS-CoV-2 that causes COVID-19. The annual influenza immunisation programme, which reduces the transmission of the virus, and decreases the number of cases, hospitalisations and influenza-related mortality will, therefore, be of even more importance this winter. This has been recognised by experts and by Government, which has announced an expansion of the national influenza immunisation programme for 2020–2021. This article summarises the impact of influenza on the NHS in the context of COVID-19, the role of immunisation, changes to…